What an amazing week this has been for us and our new little family of 4 as we welcomed Trevor into our lives last Thursday. Before I start into his birth story, I have to say a quick thank you to all of our clients, friends, wedding vendors, and fellow photographers for all of the love and well-wishes (and meals!) that we’ve been showered with…you guys have totally blown us away with all of your love and support:)
I’m getting personal on the blog today. Based on the length of this post, I could obviously write about this birth and homebirth in general forever, so I tried not to let it get too long! I just know that it feels important for me to share this story with you all, and to help showcase how beautiful, easy, empowering, and essentially pain-free it can be to give birth in such a supported and comfortable environment. Thanks again to everyone for all of your love and support during this pregnancy and over the past week…we are enjoying baby Trevor more than I could ever put into words and settling into our life as a family of 4 perfectly… Love, A
Note: Some of these photos were taken by Rick, some were taken with our camera by one of our midwives, and some were taken by Ashley of Berryessa Photography. We’ve assigned proper credit above each set of images.
Photo by Berryessa Photography.
OK, here goes…the story of my 2 hour labor and Trevor’s beautiful homebirth!
On Thursday, March 27th, Rick woke me late after letting me sleep in, and we enjoyed a couple of hours with Dylan at home before heading in for our 40 week midwife appointment with the Snohomish Midwives. I wasn’t having many contractions that morning, but was surprised that I was dilated to about 5cm when our midwife, Sarah, checked me and did a membrane sweep. She told us that she thought I would be having the baby within a day or two because my body definitely seemed ready, but I never would have imagined I would be paging her just a few hours later! After the appointment we felt a little restless and decided to go down the block to have some Thai food…and I ate a huge bowl of spicy lemongrass soup, hoping to get something going…
When we got home I started having a few contractions, so I went to lay down for a bit and listen to some Hypnobabies relaxation tracks. [Note: During this pregnancy/birth I used the Hypnobabies home study course] Rick left for an appointment in Seattle at 1:30 after we decided that I probably wasn’t in labor, and 15 minutes later at 1:45 I sent him a text and told him that I was fine and he should definitely continue to his appointment. About 3 minutes after I sent that text I felt a movement/pop during a contraction that made me jump out of bed…and less than 2 minutes later another contraction started that left me a little breathless. I called Rick right away and told him to turn around and come home! I thought at that point that I should wait awhile to page the midwives, because my labor with Dylan had been 28 hours long, but as I was trying to time the contractions on my phone I realized they were consistently less than 2 minutes apart and getting pretty strong. After breathing through a couple, I rushed to my phone and paged Sarah, our midwife, at exactly 2pm. She called me right back, listened as I moaned through a contraction, and told me she would be over in a few. Over the next 25 minutes I tried to entertain Dylan, who wanted to give my tummy kisses during every contraction to make it feel better, and I called Rick SIX times to see where he was
Photo by Melissa Denmark.
Rick and the midwives arrived to the house at the same time, around 2:30 I think, and our babysitter stopped by to pick up Dylan. I laid down again to try to relax for a few minutes, and realized that the contractions where about a minute and a half apart at that point and were getting stronger and stronger. There was a flurry of activity in the house around me as Rick and the midwives rushed around getting everything setup as fast as they could, and every time a contraction would start I would say “Someone get my back!” and one of them would stop what they were doing and run over to rub my back through it before racing away again. About 30 minutes later my water broke, and I think that at that point it hit me and everyone else that things were happening REALLY fast. With every contraction I tried to just relax my body and visualize the baby moving down – and can honestly say that I didn’t feel any pain at all, just big pressure sensations – for those who think I’m completely crazy for having a pain-free birth (I would too!)…I attribute it to my Hypnobabies classes. As I breathed and moaned through them, I could hear the midwives and their team (we had 2 midwives, a trainee, and a birth assistant present) gently cheering me on and telling me how great I was doing…and I remember thinking many times about how nice it felt to be surrounded by, supported by, cheered on, and loved by these amazing women as my body did its thing.
Photo by Melissa Denmark.
After my water broke I started feeling a lot of pressure, like the baby was really low, and I decided to get into the birth tub. Rick had been working on filling it up (I’ve never been more thankful for a tankless water heater than during my two home births!), and slipping into the hot water felt heavenly. After I got into the tub Sarah checked me and were were all shocked to hear that all she could feel was the baby’s head and I was fully dilated! She told me I could push if I felt like it, and even though the contractions were really strong, I found that if I pushed during them there was no pain at all it actually felt really good, and I could feel the baby moving down with each one. At that point, I remember smiling between contractions because I couldn’t believe that I was already pushing and how great I felt, the mood in the room remained lighthearted with Rick cracking jokes, and I could feel everyone getting excited about meeting the baby so soon. Every once in awhile someone would place a fresh cold washcloth on my neck, or gave me a sip of coconut water between pushes, and I remember thinking that they knew exactly what I needed without me even saying anything…
Photos by Melissa Denmark.
Let me caveat all of this by saying that I never imagined I could have such an easy, painless, and fast birth after my 28 hour endeavor with Dylan. His labor left me completely exhausted and was really long and tough, so it was shocking to experience something so different this time around. I’m not sure how long I pushed, but I’m guessing about 20-30 minutes before I felt his head come out, and I reached down to feel it. As soon as his head was out, the contractions actually slowed and it seemed like my pushing wasn’t very productive because his shoulders seemed to be stuck (this is a condition called shoulder dystocia that can be quite serious). I knew exactly what was happening when Sarah told me to change positions and get on all fours and I heard the urgency in her voice, and in that moment I was infinitely thankful to be having a homebirth with these great medical professionals who could use such a simple technique as getting me on all fours to help my baby out, rather than something invasive that would probably have happened in the hospital. As the next contraction started I pushed while Sarah gave a pull - and I felt his whole body slide out and then heard someone say “Reach down and catch your baby, Anna!” At that moment so many emotions enveloped me…and I remember it crossing my mind that it was so special that I had birthed both of my babies in the same room, in our 110 year old house, where so much history had surely been shared among previous families and generations. Trevor Dale was officially born at 4:06pm, just 2 hours after I paged the midwives and about 2 hours and 15 minutes after my contractions really began.
Photos by one of our midwives, Melissa Denmark…and blurry or not I love them:) Not too bad for someone who has never worked one of our cameras before!
That moment, picking up little Trevor and pulling him to my chest, was the greatest feeling in the world. I couldn’t stop laughing and exclaimed “That was so easy, I can’t believe how easy that was!” as I laughed and cried and held his little body against mine and welcomed him into the world. He turned pink quickly and calmly looked up at me with his bright little eyes and didn’t make a peep. We eventually got out of the water and I laid down and held him to my chest while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing so Rick could cut it.
Photos by Berryessa Photography.
At that point the babysitter brought Dylan in and he climbed up onto the bed with us exclaiming “My baby brother came out!” and “He’s soooooo cuuuute!” making everyone crack up and bringing me to tears as I held both of my boys in my arms for the first time. After Rick cut the cord he held Trevor for the first time while I worked on delivering the placenta.
Photos by Berryessa Photography.
Dylan checking out the placenta…
After some bonding time with both of us, Trevor was ready for his official newborn exam and we all took guesses as to what his weight would be – but were completely blown away when he tallied in at 9 pounds 1 oz…what a big baby! He cried his first sweet little cries during his exam, and checked out 100% healthy and strong.
The rest of the afternoon was spent snuggling with baby Trevor, nursing him, and enjoying everyone’s company as the midwives monitored us to ensure that we were both doing well and Rick ordered a couple of pizzas. It was strange having a baby in just a couple of hours…it felt like it barely even disrupted our daily routine, and I kept marveling at the little person in my arms who had joined us so quickly and unexpectedly…